Campfire Blog

Florida Man Feeds Alligator a Fish and His Right Hand

Is then arrested for feeding alligators

Wallace Weatherholt, a 63-year-old airboat captain, was leading a tour on June 12 when the group encountered a 9-foot alligator. Passengers told the Fort Myers News-Press that Weatherholt “hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water’s surface when the alligator attacked.

Feeding alligators is illegal in the state of Florida, where at least 19 people have been cited in the last two years, according to West Palm Beach’s WPTV. The charges carry a fine of up to $500 and possible jail time. ­Yahoo News

I have to admit, I’m kind of torn on this one. I happen to think that not feeding alligators is a pretty good law, one of the few that bureaucrats have gotten right. You can’t just have gators walking up to people on a picnic expecting to get fed cheese doodles and bologna. That’s going to end badly 9 times out of 10. So I understand the argument for charging Weatherholt with a crime.

On the other hand (no pun intended Mr. Weatherholt), we punish criminal offenses to 1) serve justice 2) set an example for all those who might consider breaking the law in the future. And wouldn’t a reasonable person say that getting your hand bitten off by the gator you were feeding serves both those purposes?

It’s an interesting philosophical debate. We are a nation of laws, not of men. But the laws we have inscribed and enumerated are meant to protect the laws of nature. And in this case nature (and Darwinism) already won. I say drop the formal charges and let Mr. Weatherholt recover his pride.


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